The late Alice Miller (1923–2010) was an influential and also controversial Swiss psychologist and psychoanalyst and spoke about positive and negative narcissism.
The difference lies in how much we like ourselves and what we want to contribute to our world.
It could be a good thing to stand in the spotlight and to be given attention for what we do if we are in touch with our own self-realization and contribute because we want the best for everyone. If we end up in a situation where we will do anything to satisfy our own needs we end up in negative narcissism. This will not work in the long run.
An imbalance occurs when we don’t give as much to our world as we take from it.
Neither will it work to put others needs first and give up on our own, i.e. giving more than we get back. Cutting back resources and keeping the expected performance level can lead to long term sick leave and early retirement for many.
The more aware we get, the more we will understand that giving and taking needs to be balanced over time.
It’s normal to be imbalanced, it’s a natural thing.
At the same time we need to learn from these imbalances and take conscious steps towards living and working in outer as well as inner balance. We can all contribute in our own unique way by having the courage to stand up for what we believe is good for ourselves and others, long term as well as short term. To make that happen, it will probably help if we are content with ourselves and are in touch with our own self-realization, i.e. positive narcissism.
Creator of LOTS® and founder of Scandinavian Leadership
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